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138

is time for all thinking men to stop and reconsider the whole
situation," It was the same sentence, the very same, trans-
parently re-dressed. All right, Mr. Munn thought, out in
the open, the belly-dragging dog. He crushed the paper
between his hands, gulped the last of his coffee, which was
cold now, and went back into the lobby.

He telephoned Mr. Sills. When Mr. Sills answered the
call, he said; " I want to talk to you bad, Mr. Sills, but I
don't want every old woman out your pike hanging on the
line listening. Are you going to be in town today? It may
be important."

Mr. Sills was coming to town.   "Right away/' he replied.

He hurried up to his office, and tried to work until Mr.
Sills appeared. But it was little use. The page of the book
would blur before his eyes. He thought of the Senator's
words, "Well, boy, we did the best we could," and of his
back as he had seen it that day disappearing down the dark
stairs. He slammed his book shut and began to pace about
his office. He sent the girl who did his letters and typing
out to buy Mm some matches, even though he had a dozen
in his pocket. While she was gone he got the bottle out of
his desk and took two moderate drinks. Then, incongruously,
while he tried to penetrate to the nature of the Senator's
motives, he thought of May, how sometimes when he looked
at her most intently, into the very depth of her eyes, she
seemed to be withdrawing from him, fading, almost imper-
ceptibly but surely, into an impersonal and ambiguous
distance.

When he heard steps in the outer room, he rushed to the
door, and flung it open. At the sight of Mr. Sills, the im-
patience and curiosity that had been consuming him sud-
denly were chilled.

" Well, sir?" Mr, Sills demanded in his flat voice.

** Did you "—and Mr. Munn hesitated that last second as
ime who poises on the brink, not because of failure in
ilecMoe but because the mechanism of the body registered,
m it were, a last blind protest—" did you provide any news-